What is the vulnerability management process?
The vulnerability management process takes into account the above mentioned management lifecycle and uses it as a guide for action. Here are some primary processes you should help your customers implement to improve their vulnerability security and keep their networks protected:
- Check for vulnerabilities: Network scans, firewall logs, and penetration testing are all important vulnerability management tools for locating any weak points customer networks may have. You should use these tools on a regular basis and consider automating them if possible.
- Identify the vulnerabilities: Using the data generated from the logs, tests, and scans, you can locate any anomalies that might suggest foul play on your customers’ networks (malware attacks, suspicious activity, etc.).
- Verify the vulnerabilities: Determine if the identified vulnerabilities have the potential to be exploited on servers, applications, networks, or other systems.
- Mitigate vulnerabilities: If a patch cannot be issued quickly or if there is no patch solution for a given vulnerability, you will need to come up with placeholder solutions for your customers and their assets. You might consider taking the affected part of a system offline or otherwise quarantining an attack.
- Patch vulnerabilities: Once you’ve identified a vulnerability and assessed that it poses a serious risk, it’s time to patch. Patches can usually be obtained or purchased from the vendors of the affected software or hardware. Try to schedule patching so that it doesn’t interfere with user activity, if possible.
How to Improve vulnerability management strategy
All of the actions proposed by vulnerability management processes address the concerns and steps laid out by the lifecycle model, but they are not the only actions MSPs can take to improve their vulnerability management services. Here are some additional best practices we recommend you implement for customers.
First, invest in your penetration tests services as much as possible so you can improve the discovery of weaknesses in your customers’ networks. This is the first step of the lifecycle model and if it’s not done well, it will severely limit the success of your vulnerability management efforts. Penetration techniques are used to evaluate the safety and security of a network in a controlled manner. If you want to offer your customers the best odds of locating their vulnerabilities in their networks, you’ll need to make sure your testing services are top notch.
Second, one of the best ways to prioritize and assess your customers’ assets is to inventory their systems. It can help to identify deployed technologies that might be putting their systems at risk. One of the things you can do to help customers in this endeavor is to classify their network assets by platform. You should also identify which defensive tools are already in place.
Employing a vulnerability management service would be moot without offering sufficient patch servicing as well. After all, patching is often the only way you can remediate the identified threats to customers’ vulnerabilities. Because patching is complicated and tedious, most small and medium-sized businesses can’t run them themselves. This increases the demand for effective patch management on the MSP’s side, and as that demand rises, you will need to improve on your own services or risk falling behind the competition. One way to do this is to consider using an automated patch management solution, which can help you stay on top of your many customers' ongoing updates and network scans.
Without a vulnerability management program in place, your customer's network security will be blind to potential threats. Although introducing a new vulnerability management process within a customer’s organization can be challenging, it’s made easier by following the lifecycle model closely. Implementing the cycle’s guidelines will help you deploy an effective vulnerability management service for your customers' computer systems. Explore our product suite for additional vulnerability management capabilities and services.